L’enfer, c’est…

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

First off, I appreciate how difficult it must be to travel with a small child. My heart always goes out to the young mother on the plane trying desperately to calm her wailing infant under the glare of the surrounding passengers. I mean, I don’t like sitting in an enclosed space with a screeching baby any more than the next person, but I realize that a baby has no other way to communicate that it’s tired, it’s uncomfortable, its ears are blocked up and it wants to be home in its bed. Heck, if it wasn’t so socially inappropriate, I’d probably screech my way through most plane journeys as well. So I have a great deal of sympathy for the parents of small children stuck in the cramped seats at the back of a plane on long, dark transatlantic flights.


I really don’t need to spend eight hours being kicked repeatedly in the kidneys by the six-year-old boy in the seat behind me whose parents—two able-bodied individuals who nonetheless are incapable of moving around in their seats without yanking on the back of mine and who must inexplicably rummage deeply and irritatingly in the seat-back pockets or overhead bins every five minutes—seem completely incapable of or uninterested in getting him to sit still, shut up and go to sleep like the rest of the passengers, and who instead humor each little six-year-old whim (I want to play. No, I want to sleep. No, I want to play. No, I want to sleep. The light goes on, the tray table plops down. The light goes off, the tray table goes up. The goes on, the tray table plops down. The light goes off, the tray table goes up.), to the point of feeding him several very noisy packets of crisps at 10:00 PM to refuel him for the remaining four hours of the flight, while I hunker down in my own seat wearing eyeshades, earplugs and noise-canceling headphones and try vainly to imagine that I am not, in fact, sealed in a stuffy, pressurized metal tube roaring through the thin reaches of the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the night with the Family from Hell breathing down my neck.

‘Nuff said.



Been there…

Posted by Sillysocks


She’s backkkkkkkkkkkk …

Now this is the Jessica I’ve really missed!

You’ve frightened me very badly because I’m getting ready to fly to Berlin and know exactly what you are talking about.

As you said the adults are the true offenders. I remember, in particular, one flight where two idiots (oops, I mean "adults") kept griping because I had put my seat back to go to sleep. Did I mention I am over six feet tall? We all must cooperate on a plane and I understand that it’s like some giant game of dominoes in which each action affects another person but the seats are designed to recline!!!!!

Wow, I feel better know.

Next time you’re on the plane with a whiny child just tell the attendant that it’s diaper is wet and you suspect it is an explosive material. Then an air marshall will have to take the child into custody and move it … :-)


Posted by Michael Ingram-Stahl


Hi Jessica, next time don’t be shy, say something. If they’re offended, so what, they should be embarrassed. In my previous job I had to travel frequently and have been in the exact same situation. I politely asked the parent of the offending rug rat to please make him stop kicking the back of my seat. When she got pissy about it, I pointed out that I have children of my own and they never behaved like that on a plane, because I wouldn’t allow them to.

I’d also like to comment to the gentleman with the reclining seat issue that the person behind him may also be over six feet tall (like myself) and depending upon the plane, if you lean your seat back you may be smashing their knees and/or the head rest of your seat may be a meer five or six inches from their face. I’ve suffered through this scenerio as well. Just because the seat is designed to recline doesn’t mean you should be an ass and do so.

Good night and good luck.

Posted by Adam Zimmerman


Apparently Adam missed my point about the dominoes …

The only way it works for everyone in narrow confines to sleep (and I, for one, can not sleep sitting up) is to recline your seat slightly or greatly, depending on the need to accomodate the person in front of you. It’s not a perfect world, when flying, but it is workable.

In my case, the offended parties were two women, well under six feet and just being prissy because they felt they owned the space surrounding them out to, at least, ten feet.

I would like to know what Adam thinks is the solution though? I have no problem with someone putting back their seat in front of me and have never had my knees smashed or the head rest within five or six inches of my face. I take no offense and expect none from the party behind me. If putting the seat in a reclined position makes me an ass then I wear the title proudly and proclaim it to the world that the braying sound you hear is the ass in front of you resting comfortably!

On a side note, enjoy Australia! I hope two weeks is long enough to get a good flavour of life down under … I am very jealous!!!


Posted by Michael Ingram-Stahl


Welcome to Australia, Jessica, happy to have you finally coming to visit this great land of ours!

I hope you don’t have a repeat of my worst flying experience. On a flight between Melbourne and Perth the 4 or so year old boy in the seat in front of me decided to whip out his little member and pee between the seats, straight into my handbag! At least his mother was apologetic!

Posted by mim


Oh. My. God. I can’t imagine that! No, we were really lucky - our long flight over was remarkably comfortable. And we’re having an amazing time in Australia - it’s a fantastic place!


Apparently Michael missed my point … when I said DEPENDING UPON THE PLANE. For example, the rows of seats on most planes used for international flights are spaced farther apart then on most planes used for domestic flights and therefore this wouldn’t pose a problem on international flights. Obviously on long intercontinental flights people need to sleep. However, many airlines pack as many seats as are permitted onto their planes used for domestic flights. Many times I have been on domestic flights and the rows are so close together that my knees are already almost against the seat in front of me. If the person in front of me reclines their seat it does smash against my knees and the head rest is inches from my face. What I’m saying is be aware of what’s going on around you, you don’t have the right be an ass and cause someone else physical discomfort just because you want to recline your seat. If you’ve never been on a domestic U.S. flight with the rows tightly spaced you must not have flown much. I been on hundreds of flights and this is not uncommon.

Posted by Adam Zimmerman

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